You guys. It's time to freak out. The preseason No.6 Men's Basketball team takes the court against Morgan State TOMORROW.
So far in 34 days of coverage we've projected the ACC's participation in the NCAA tournament, done a KenPomcast, explained why ACC basketball is basically The Wire, and previewed Virginia's ACC Schedule (along with a bunch of other excellent content). All of the players have been profiled, minus the last one: Austin Nichols.
Nichols, a 6-9, 232 pound transfer from Memphis, went through a heck of a journey to become a Wahoo. Now, he's been on Grounds for a few months and is starting to settle in. NCAA regulations dictate that Nichols will have to sit out a year before he's eligible to play in the orange and blue, but the time will benefit him greatly as he has the opportunity to learn the defense. Austin, along with teammate Mamadi Diakite, will have a year to learn the intricacies of the pack line, and their talent level will greatly challenge the team and up the quality of practice.
As a Tiger last season, Austin averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He finished 12th in the NCAA in blocks with 93 over 27 games (3.44 per game) before an ankle injury ended his season early in February.
While Virginia will take a hit losing Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill in a year, the idea of having Austin Nichols and Mamadi Diakite waiting in the wings eases the anxiety a bit. Add in the block-happy Isaiah Wilkins, and I'm not sure anyone will ever score on Virginia again.